August update.

Why, hello there friends!

I hope that wherever you may be that the sunshine is warm on your face and that you are within walking distance to some swimming location. It's been a fantastic and busy summer so far for me. I have a been working on a few things that have been keeping me hopping. First, I'm JUST about ready to start working on my sister's screen printed save the date cards for her wedding next summer. It'll be my first time screening on paper. Experts in the field of printing have said that I should find the process a piece of cake after printing on wiggly tea towel fabric and I'm banking on their words. Got the screens, got the paper, ink comes tomorrow and I'm on my way!

 I don't want to ruin the surprise of the reveal in the mail, but here's a little corner of a mock up I did of it.

I also just completed a promotion with Three in a Box. It was a Christmas in August theme. I will post the full finished promo in a bit but here's a little corner of that as well.

I also noticed at the local coffee shop that the CIBC Run for the Cure has started using my painted running shoe art in their campaign for this year.

This is the first shoe that I painted for them and my favourite. Painting on a shoe was a difficult task but something that I'll never forget!

Last but certainly not least, I will be manning a Claire Manning table at this year's Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Street Fair here in Toronto. The big party is in a week and a half on Saturday August 18th right on Bloor Street between Dufferin Street and Christie Street.

I will have my tea towels for sale, as well as my greeting cards. I will also have a small run of silk screened posters and a few of my hand embroidered throw pillows. And with that reminder to myself, I must get back to work. Stay cool, cats.

A little more from ICON7, and a little from the home front.

Another week has slipped away. Although I am more than back to normal home life I am still savouring my time away in Providence at ICON7. I am going to continue sharing bits from the event until there is just nothing left to share, but I'm going to do it along side home life too. 

I'm going to start with a little conference talk, more specifically the ICON7 Rhode Show, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of. The concept of the show is pretty simple. Display your beautiful work for the illustration world to see, and sell a little (if you want). Though there were a few Rhode Island sales tax heart attacks for this Canadian girl, I was able to sell my tea towels as well as show my portfolio. Thank goodness for that, because they sold like hot cakes! I never posted the new designs, did I? Well, here they are!
 You might say it made me a bit happy that everyone liked my work so much.
Photo courtesy of Angie Alonza
All of the folks that came around to check out my stuff and have a quick chat with me were lovely. I particularly enjoyed speaking with recent grads and looking at their work. They are a refreshing bunch. I can't believe it's been eight years since I graduated. Seeing them reminded me that I can't just sit on the couch and watch Master Chef (though I love it). Doors must be knocked and art must be made! I also had a few personal super stars pick up an absorbent Claire Manning original. One of the first people to drop by was Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party fame. Yeah, that's her website on the list of things that I love. What do you do when a total inspiration buys a piece of my work? I was a total nerd, and way too excited to see her and Julia Rothman, who was browsing the show with her. I've really got to work on acting cool. One day I hope that I can license my art as successfully as they have. My major moment of the night was when a woman came by and asked if I could set aside 3 sets of my tea towels while she went and got her cheque book. No prob, I thought. Well, "cha-ching!" is what I really thought, but when she came back and I read the name on her cheque I realized it was Lynda Weinman.

As in THIS Lynda.
She even looks like the logo a bit! Upon this discovery I threw all three sets of towels in the air and lost the ability to count and organize. It took me fifteen minutes to take the cheque and get the towels in her bag. I believe that Ronaldo taught himself After Effects with the tutorials at She is a legend. I was also visited by Dan Santat and Adam Rex, amazing children's book illustrators and authors. I am embarrassed to admit that I had not heard of them before the conference, but I am now a super fan of both of their work. 

Another important visitor to my set up was Amy from Craftland, an absolutely amazing craft/art/awesomeness store and gallery space owned by the one and only Jen Corace. Amy suggested that I drop by the store and consider submitting a vendor proposal because she thought my towels would fit well in amongst the rest of the awesomeness. So, on my final day in Providence, and my only free day to explore the city I found Craftland.

It was as cute on the outside as on the inside and I loved it.
I have since applied and am awaiting a reply!

Craftland was the highlight of that day. I was pretty hung over from the conference closing party which didn't help. That wasn't the main reason I was a little bummed with Providence. It was the number of bums in Providence that bummed me out. The town seemed empty except for clumps of drifter type folks hanging out everywhere. I assume that in the school year with everyone around it's not as odd. I felt, firstly, that I likely looked like I belonged in their crowd, and secondly, a little unsafe, even in broad daylight. Every street was pretty much void of people. I ran into a particularly vocal homeless woman down one of these streets. She was yelling at a homeless dude that was walking away from her. She got louder the further he got from her. I stopped to look in a window just so I could listen to her insane rant. It was amazing. So much so that the first thing I drew in my sketchbook when I got back to the T Dot was her rant, just so that I could get it in writing. I didn't get a good look at the scene because I didn't want to draw attention to me so I replaced the homeless folks with cats, of course. 

I put my sketchbook on my studio floor to take a few pictures and, like clockwork, my super model cat came around for the photo shoot.
I just went with it. Work it, Ramona!

That homeless woman really was crazy, eh?
A very happy fourth of July to all you fantastic Americans out there!

ICON7: Part one.

I have been home from my Rhode Island adventure for one week now. Frankly, I needed a week to decompress and digest all that I learned. It truly was a jammed packed three days. Here are a few quickie shots of some of the things I experienced.

First, I flew to Providence in a small plane. The smallest I've ever seen at an airport that is not featured in a beloved 90's sitcom called Wings. That's the pilot out front. She was one of two crew members on the flight. The other was the co-pilot. No complimentary drinks on this little fella.
The view from the inside is a bit scary, no? It actually wasn't as bad as it looks. A definite first for me. I can now say with confidence and knowledge that I prefer a bigger plane.
This is a photo from the Thursday night key note presentation. The three folks on the couch were mega players at,, and They had some pretty great stuff to say about their own company, as well as online community and presence. I'm up and running on Esty, but I will be starting accounts other social media sites soon, including Behance. At least that is what I told Matias Corea, the Behance speaker. Better stick to it.
An illustrator that I was inspired by but, quite embarrassingly, was not familiar with was Bob Staake. He spoke about his career in editorial and children's book illustration and his growth as an artist. His work was totally up my alley, and after I looked him up I realized that I had seen his stuff before. I guess I have a new illustrator to look up to. 
Another speaker that I adored was Christopher Silas Neal.
I came to the conference a ready made fan, and was intrigued with his presentation on a collaboration project he did for Kate Spade. An animation based on the colour navy. With synchronized swimmers. And a whale. How could I NOT love it? Ronaldo has been telling me for years that he would help me make an animation of my characters and Chris made me excited to actually go for it.
Chris was not the only speaker I was pumped up to see. I have been a HUGE fan of Jessica Hische's work ever since I saw her flow chart of when you should do work for free. Look to your right and you will see her website link in my favourites list. She did not disappoint. She was dispelling a terrible talk from ICON6 in L.A. that basically said that the static image is dead and if you don't animate your career will be too. She swears like a sailor, but it was kind of the coolest thing ever. If you go see the Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom (which I did, and it's awesome, and I'm writing a post about it soon) you will see her typography and lettering throughout it. And it's beee-a-uitful. 
I could write a book about this conference. It was expensive, but worth it. My tea towels were a total hit, which made me feel pretty good about my own work amongst such amazing talent. I'm going to put up little tidbits I learned over my future posts, rather than give you a novel right now. Before I head to bed I will leave you with a quote from the final key note presentation of the conference. Brian Rea (who's illustration work is all over the T Dot right now for the Soulpepper Theatre) and Paul Sahre re-imagined author Malcolm Gladwell's first three books into a stunning, fully illustrated, packaged set. They put up one of Malcolm's quotes that really rang true to me.
 I figure if I do what I love that I will never be a fool.

Two months in photos.

Yes, yes. I have been away from the spotlight for a while now. Don't think that I have been twiddling my thumbs. My life's a busy and fun one! I am about to head to the beautiful city of providence in Rhode Island for this year's illustration conference, ICON7. I'm hoping that I come home with plenty of new stories and exciting things lined up for the future! Here's a little montage of the significant events that I've been up to since April.
I've been working on presents that are owing. This is a veggie piece that I'm working on for my sister.
I said goodbye to an old friend. The Green Lantern was adopted by a lovely new family. He will be a happier turtle with kids to lay with him, but it wasn't easy to let him go.
 I made LOADS more tea towels. I am fully stocked with my root veggie and piggie screens.
I took a trip to the ever wonderful New York City with my day job. My first time to shop for inspiration around the city and it was fantastic.
 I've taken Linus on a few spins around Toronto. I take him pretty much everywhere I go.
 I also take this guy everywhere I can too. Biking fun!
 I took some beautiful photos of my tea towels, with the help of my friends Derek Matthew, and Julie Tamaki's fabulous kitchen. I then took those photos and used them to promote my tea towels on my Etsy page. Yes, that's right. Go to my etsy site and buy a towel now! Only if you want to, of course. You should want to. They're pretty great.
  I took a three hour learn to ride a motorcycle class. It was intense. I must say it was fun, exhilarating, and heart racing experience, but don't be looking for me on the road with one of these any time soon. I'm going to stick to the smooth ride I get on Linus.
 I hung out with one of my two sisters. She's passionate about animals in clothes. Ramona was given this cute little Scottish hat by her. You can tell from their expressions how it went over for each party involved.
 I saw the Dave Matthews Band. Again.
 I ate yogurt with Morgan.
 Chobani yogurt to be exact. It's a brand that's new to Canada. So far it's only available in Toronto at Loblaws stores. It's yummy greek style. I was invited to attend a little shindig they threw in the city last week. They had this lovely little make your own yogurt bar.
 I tried to make mine pretty, but as the story of my life goes, it got messy. I tried to compensate by adding a little flower. Anyway, the yogurt is delicious and I totally recommend trying it if you are in Toronto or the U S of A.

 I had so much fun making the first two tea towel designs that I decided to do a couple more! I will be debuting them at the conference this week. These will be available on my etsy site soon too, as well as a couple store front locations I will share once they're available.
You may think I'm focusing in my rings, but alas, this photo is about the brace. I have given myself tendinitis through my silk screening escapades. A great fear of mine has been realized. My right hand is injured. I will be fine, and the brace will always be there for support, but I will never take for granted the limits of my hand and what I can and can't do. 

I will be at ICON7 from June 14th through June 17th, in providence, Rhode Island. If you are attending I would love to meet you. I will be back to write all about it soon!

A cocky promotion.

What the what? I bet you were expecting another post in, say, 90 days or so. April fools! Here I am again!

I thought I'd share some more new work. I took a course on Thursday last week about the theory of letterpress at Nook Collective in Kensington Market. I am way into silk screening and after investing in some letterpress business cards I think I have room in my brain and heart to be way into letterpress too. It was a way informative class for being two hours (turned into three hours by lost track of time). The instructor, Micheline Courtemanche, is a very talented letterpresser (and owner of Betty & Bing) came all the way from Nova Scotia to teach the class. I suppose I should have known, but I had never thought of how heavy a letterpress machine is. Micheline brought her tiny little "toy" press, that was made as a toy back in the day to teach little boys (because it was a man's job) how to print. Cute machine, but not super productive. The class was more about how to create designs that can be letterpressed, and when it's appropriate to use the technique and when it's better just to screen print or offset print (or digital). It's an art that has so much history and nuances to the machines that it would warrant an apprenticeship to really get a handle on how to do everything correctly (anyone willing to take me on??). That being said, it's obvious to me that if I do want to create letterpress art hand made by me I will have to take a class with someone local who has the equipment. I couldn't even imagine Ronaldo lugging a 1000 pound machine up our stairs, so a machine of my own seems as likely as winning the lottery. If I won the lottery though, I would totally buy a press. 

The folks at nook suggested that participants bring a piece of art that they would consider letterpressing. I should have delved into the massive pile of art I have lying around my studio and picked something. Instead, I made something new. I didn't end up using it for too much the night of the class, but I had fun with it anyway.

I started by drawing and inking an image
Then scanning, cleaning it up, and adding my font to it. This is what I brought to the class.
And then today I decided to add some colour and texture to it in Photoshop, to make it more full of life.
Vintage cool, oui ou non? Do you like this rooster? I am getting ready to start some new tea towel designs and I'm either going to feature fowl or fish. If you were me... actually, seeing as you being you would be more likely to BUY a tea towel, what would YOU want to see? 

I've updated my website with this new art and the last couple of things I've posted about if you feel like checking them out. Have a very tricky April first!

A dead job.

A short post. I was asked to submit a proposal for a HUGE illustration job. At this point, I'm pretty sure I didn't get it. I could be wrong. Anyway, I did up a sample illo as a part of the proposal and I wanted to share it with you!
Copyright by Claire Manning
 Short and sweet! Hope you have a great day!

Got my balls in the air.

I live my life open to imagination and happiness
through my unique view of the world.

I am fearless, optimistic, and take on any challenge,
always growing, learning, and bettering myself.

I wear my heart on my sleeve
and show my true colours.

This, folks, is my brand spanking new, one of a kind mantra. It's a great example of the fantastic-ness I was able to absorb from my class. Not only did I learn about the financial side of my work, I also learned about myself as a person. How was I able to do anything without defined values that I live my life by and align my work to? It was by far one of the hardest things I've had to do, but I feel much more grounded knowing exactly what I deem most important in everything. When I get frustrated, overwhelmed, or down-trodden, from now on I will go back to my mantra to remind myself why I do what I do in the first place. I am still working on my mission statement and vision but those will also help too. The fact is that it's gettin', it's gettin', it's gettin' kinda hectic in here. All good, of course. I have secured three craft shows so far for the holiday season, which means that I've got to start producing things to sell. This time, I'm working to make money too and I think *fingers crossed* it may finally happen this time. 
Here's a shot of some rough work...
...that I refine into final line work....
...and then inked and ready for screen.
I am really looking forward to throwing myself into screen printing. It's new, it's exciting, and it's inspiring to me. This is just the beginning, really, and I can't wait to really explore it. I'm also continuing my embroidery, and continue to add new stitches to my arsenal. I'm hoping to get a bunch of decorative pillows completed to sell over the holidays. Here's a quick preview... what do you think so far?
Now, this is where the mantra comes in handy. The craft shows and prepping for them is not the only project on the go. Perhaps I'm feeling inspired by my new day job (that I actually really like) but I've taken on three more projects (albeit two are fairly small). I'm going to HAVE to put my nose to the grindstone, simply because I promised I would. I'm hoping that everything goes peaches and cream and that I can keep my balls in the air. 

I just said balls.

From Maker to Making a Living, class #2: just say yes.

I've had a day to digest my second class in the workshop series I'm going to be taking for this month. I think I needed it, as last night was a tough one, for me and a lot of my classmates too. Jacqueline's task for the night was to look at all the directions businesses could go in. We're talking blue-skying it. If money wasn't an option, what could I do? You'd think it would be an easy answer, but it's hard not to default back to thinking "I could do that, if I had the money, time, space, etc.". Jacqueline's catch phrase of the night was JUST SAY YES. I have to say it really opened my head to the possibilities I have available. It's funny that though I came into this class thinking that I wanted advice purely for my crafty endeavors. Tea towels and pillows. I went up to Jacqueline after the first class to ensure she knew that though I said I was an illustrator in my introduction that I wasn't intending to bring that part of my business into the class. I'm not sure if you'd call it an "ah ha!" moment or a "duh" moment, but my crafty business IS my illustration business. All my conversation about what I could do with my crafts lead straight to ILLUSTRATE A BOOK. Of course, I didn't talk about how difficult it is to get into a publishing company and that making money in books is hard, I just said yes. It was hard to keep my trap shut, but refreshing after the fact. It's really exciting to see all your potential sprawled across a big, white piece of paper. I really cannot wait until next week's classes!

Now, speaking of just say yes, today we lost an incredible man that did just that and more. I have to make a little shout out to Steve Jobs, as I sit here typing on my third Apple desktop computer. Thank goodness he was one of those guys that saw that the sky has no limit. It really is one thing to have a brilliant mind and limitless imagination, but another to have the guts to use them fully and fearlessly. Macs have changed the way I look at computers, digital media, and, from a girl who once would rather spend hours painting in gouache than open photoshop, digital art. As CBC news stated today, he really was the Henry Ford of our generation. I'm getting a bit teary over here.... anyway, I've wanted to share this speech on my blog since I first heard it, as I've found it to be so utterly inspirational. If you've got 15 minutes I would highly recommend watching it and remembering Steve's genius and heart.  I know he's resting in peace knowing he's left the world a much better place.